The president of the United States, Donald Trump, publicly presented Conan on Monday, the dog who became a hero for his role in the operation that led to the death of the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
"The dog is amazing," Trump said in a brief ceremony, while the Belgian shepherd was at his side next to a trainer. Also present were First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. "So bright, so smart. Conan did a fantastic job," the president added.
During the military operation, Conan chased Baghdadi through a dead-end tunnel inside his Syrian hiding place, where the cornered leader of the Islamic State detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children, according to the official report. Conan was injured in the detonation, but seems to have recovered completely.RELATED
Conan was injured during the operation, although he later recovered. (Photo: AP / Evan Vucci)
"Conan was very badly injured, as you know. They thought maybe he was not going to get better. He actually recovered very quickly," Trump said. The animal's identity had been a very well kept secret until it was declassified by Trump, who retweeted a photo of the dog after the operation.
Details about Conan's life, his achievements and family background are scarce, although his race had certainly accomplished great feats in the past: the Navy's elite command, the Navy Seals, used a Belgian Malinois in 2011 in Pakistan , when they killed the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden.
General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of the United States Central Command, said Conan was a "critical member of our forces" and mentioned his impressive record of 50 combat missions in four years of service.